Episode rankings

For the sake of posterity, here are my personal rankings of all 45 ‘classic era’ Columbo episodes that aired between 1968-78.

To aid your understanding of how highly I rate episodes, I’ve banded them into A, B, C, D and Z lists. These bands equate to:

  • A list = Unbelievably good television, preferable to all other shows ever made
  • B list = Outstanding entertainment, better than almost any TV ever made
  • C list = Would happily watch anytime they came on TV, but rarely select from DVD collection
  • D list = Lesser Columbo efforts with some redeeming features
  • Z list = Will only watch under extreme duress

You can read full reviews of any of the episodes by clicking on the links below.

  1. The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case
  2. Suitable for Framing
  3. Publish or Perish
  4. Double Shock
  5. Murder by the Book
  6. Negative Reaction
  7. A Friend in Deed
  8. Try & Catch Me
  9. Death Lends a Hand
  10. A Stitch in Crime
  11. Now You See Him
  12. Double Exposure
  13. Lady in Waiting
  14. Troubled Waters
  15. Any Old Port in a Storm
  16. Prescription: Murder 
  17. A Deadly State of Mind —B-List starts here—
  18. An Exercise in Fatality
  19. Make Me a Perfect Murder
  20. Identity Crisis
  21. Swan Song
  22. The Most Crucial Game
  23. By Dawn’s Early Light
  24. Etude in Black
  25. Candidate for Crime
  26. Greenhouse Jungle
  27. Playback
  28. Blueprint for Murder
  29. Forgotten Lady
  30. Requiem for a Falling Star
  31. Fade in to Murder
  32. Ransom for a Dead Man
  33. Murder Under Glass —C-List starts here—
  34. A Case of Immunity
  35. Dead Weight
  36. The Conspirators
  37. The Most Dangerous Match
  38. Lovely but Lethal 
  39. How to Dial a Murder
  40. Short Fuse ———D-List starts here—-
  41. A Matter of Honor
  42. Mind Over Mayhem
  43. Old Fashioned Murder
  44. Dagger of the Mind
  45. Last Salute to the Commodore —Z-List starts here

Once I’ve finished reviewing all of the ‘new’ Columbo episodes that aired from 1989-2003 I’ll create a master list with every episode ranked.

And don’t forget, you can vote for your very favourite Columbo episode at any time right here.


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6 thoughts on “Episode rankings

  1. Saturday Night is Columbo night at our house. We watch them in order and are watching “Lady in Waiting” now. It’s good but I don’t think it’s a top tier episode. I’d put it in with the c ranked episodes. Leslie Nielsen is particularly good in this one, I will say. And it was cool seeing Barbara Rhodes (she was in Ellery Queen and McMillan and Wife and so many other things- a true tv legend) and Marcia Wallace. A good episode, not a great one.

     

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